Abbottabad Insights: How al-Qa‘ida in Iraq Was Formed (Part 2)

In the first article in this series, we saw how in 2004 al-Qa‘ida’s “general manager” Abu al-Faraj al-Libi engineered an alliance with Abu Mus‘ab al-Zarqawi’s Iraq-based group. Acting on behalf of Usama bin Ladin and Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Libi met with al-Zarqawi’s emissary Abu Ja‘far al-Iraqi in mid-2004 to discuss the “reality of the situation” in Iraq and negotiate a merger. It was during this meeting that the deal was sealed between the two organizations: al-Libi told Abu Ja‘far that “the subject of the allegiance, God willing, has been completed”, leaving only technicalities to be worked out. After several months of subsequent secret messages between Pakistan and Iraq, a public communiqué released on October 17, 2004 announced that al-Zarqawi’s group was now operating under al-Qa‘ida’s umbrella. Al-Qa‘ida in Iraq was born. During these months of negotiations, al-Libi had been in charge of carrying out the talks with al-Zarqawi and his group

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